Let's Compare Ascii and Unicode


The American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII, ;) is a character-encoding scheme originally based on the English alphabet.

ASCII n : (computer science) a code for information exchange between computers made by different companies; a string of 7 binary digits represents each character; used in most microcomputers [syn: {American Standard Code for Information Interchange}]

ASCII American Standard Code of Information Interchange

ASCII /as'kee/ n. [originally an acronym (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) but now merely conventional] The predominant character set encoding of present-day computers. The standard version uses 7 bits for each character, whereas most earlier codes (including early drafts of ASCII prior to June 1961) used fewer. This change allowed the inclusion of lowercase letters -- a major {win} -- but it did not provide for accented letters or any other letterforms not used in English (such as the German sharp-S or the ae-ligature which is a letter in, for example, Norwegian). It could be worse, though. It could be much worse. See {{EBCDIC}} to understand how. A history of ASCII and its ancestors is at `http://www.wps.com/texts/codes/index.html'. Computers are much pickier and less flexible about spelling than humans; thus, hackers need to be very precise when talking about characters, and have developed a considerable amount of verbal shorthand for them. Every character has one or more names -- some formal, some concise, some silly. Common jargon names for ASCII characters are collected here. See also individual entries for {bang}, {excl}, {open}, {ques}, {semi}, {shriek}, {splat}, {twiddle}, and {Yu-Shiang Whole Fish}. This list derives from revision 2.3 of the Usenet ASCII pronunciation guide. Single characters are listed in ASCII order; character pairs are sorted in by first member. For each character, common names are given in rough order of popularity, followed by names that are reported but rarely seen; official ANSI/CCITT names are surrounded by brokets: <>. Square brackets mark the particularly silly names introduced by {INTERCAL}. The abbreviations "l/r" and "o/c" stand for left/right and "open/close" respectively. Ordinary parentheticals provide some usage information. ! Common: {bang}; pling; excl; not; shriek; ball-bat; . Rare: factorial; exclam; smash; cuss; boing; yell; wow; hey; wham; eureka; [spark-spot]; soldier, control. " Common: double quote; quote. Rare: literal mark; double-glitch; ; ; dirk; [rabbit-ears]; double prime. # Common: number sign; pound; pound sign; hash; sharp; {crunch}; hex; [mesh]. Rare: grid; crosshatch; octothorpe; flash; , pig-pen; tictactoe; scratchmark; thud; thump; {splat}. $ Common: dollar; . Rare: currency symbol; buck; cash; string (from BASIC); escape (when used as the echo of ASCII ESC); ding; cache; [big money]. % Common: percent; ; mod; grapes. Rare: [double-oh-seven]. & Common: ; amp; amper; and, and sign. Rare: address (from C); reference (from C++); andpersand; bitand; background (from `sh(1)'); pretzel. [INTERCAL called this `ampersand'; what could be sillier?] ' Common: single quote; quote; . Rare: prime; glitch; tick; irk; pop; [spark]; ; . ( ) Common: l/r paren; l/r parenthesis; left/right; open/close; paren/thesis; o/c paren; o/c parenthesis; l/r parenthesis; l/r banana. Rare: so/already; lparen/rparen; ; o/c round bracket, l/r round bracket, [wax/wane]; parenthisey/unparenthisey; l/r ear. * Common: star; [{splat}]; . Rare: wildcard; gear; dingle; mult; spider; aster; times; twinkle; glob (see {glob}); {Nathan Hale}. + Common: ; add. Rare: cross; [intersection]. , Common: . Rare: ; [tail]. - Common: dash; ; . Rare: [worm]; option; dak; bithorpe. . Common: dot; point; ; . Rare: radix point; full stop; [spot]. / Common: slash; stroke; ; forward slash. Rare: diagonal; solidus; over; slak; virgule; [slat]. : Common: . Rare: dots; [two-spot]. ; Common: ; semi. Rare: weenie; [hybrid], pit-thwong. < > Common: ; bra/ket; l/r angle; l/r angle bracket; l/r broket. Rare: from/{into, towards}; read from/write to; suck/blow; comes-from/gozinta; in/out; crunch/zap (all from UNIX); tic/tac; [angle/right angle]. = Common: ; gets; takes. Rare: quadrathorpe; [half-mesh]. ? Common: query; ; {ques}. Rare: quiz; whatmark; [what]; wildchar; huh; hook; buttonhook; hunchback. @ Common: at sign; at; strudel. Rare: each; vortex; whorl; [whirlpool]; cyclone; snail; ape; cat; rose; cabbage; . V Rare: [book]. [ ] Common: l/r square bracket; l/r bracket; ; bracket/unbracket. Rare: square/unsquare; [U turn/U turn back]. \ Common: backslash, hack, whack; escape (from C/UNIX); reverse slash; slosh; backslant; backwhack. Rare: bash; ; reversed virgule; [backslat]. ^ Common: hat; control; uparrow; caret; . Rare: xor sign, chevron; [shark (or shark-fin)]; to the (`to the power of'); fang; pointer (in Pascal). _ Common: ; underscore; underbar; under. Rare: score; backarrow; skid; [flatworm]. ` Common: backquote; left quote; left single quote; open quote; ; grave. Rare: backprime; [backspark]; unapostrophe; birk; blugle; back tick; back glitch; push; ; quasiquote. { } Common: o/c brace; l/r brace; l/r squiggly; l/r squiggly bracket/brace; l/r curly bracket/brace; . Rare: brace/unbrace; curly/uncurly; leftit/rytit; l/r squirrelly; [embrace/bracelet]. A balanced pair of these may be called `curlies'. | Common: bar; or; or-bar; v-bar; pipe; vertical bar. Rare: ; gozinta; thru; pipesinta (last three from UNIX); [spike]. ~ Common: ; squiggle; {twiddle}; not. Rare: approx; wiggle; swung dash; enyay; [sqiggle (sic)]. The pronunciation of `#' as `pound' is common in the U.S. but a bad idea; {{Commonwealth Hackish}} has its own, rather more apposite use of `pound sign' (confusingly, on British keyboards the pound graphic happens to replace `#'; thus Britishers sometimes call `#' on a U.S.-ASCII keyboard `pound', compounding the American error). The U.S. usage derives from an old-fashioned commercial practice of using a `#' suffix to tag pound weights on bills of lading. The character is usually pronounced `hash' outside the U.S. There are more culture wars over the correct pronunciation of this character than any other, which has led to the {ha ha only serious} suggestion that it be pronounced `shibboleth' (see Judges 12:6 in an Old Testament or Tanakh). The `uparrow' name for circumflex and `leftarrow' name for underline are historical relics from archaic ASCII (the 1963 version), which had these graphics in those character positions rather than the modern punctuation characters. The `swung dash' or `approximation' sign is not quite the same as tilde in typeset material but the ASCII tilde serves for both (compare {angle brackets}). Some other common usages cause odd overlaps. The `#', `$', `>', and `&' characters, for example, are all pronounced "hex" in different communities because various assemblers use them as a prefix tag for hexadecimal constants (in particular, `#' in many assembler-programming cultures, `$' in the 6502 world, `>' at Texas Instruments, and `&' on the BBC Micro, Sinclair, and some Z80 machines). See also {splat}. The inability of ASCII text to correctly represent any of the world's other major languages makes the designers' choice of 7 bits look more and more like a serious {misfeature} as the use of international networks continues to increase (see {software rot}). Hardware and software from the U.S. still tends to embody the assumption that ASCII is the universal character set and that characters have 7 bits; this is a major irritant to people who want to use a character set suited to their own languages. Perversely, though, efforts to solve this problem by proliferating `national' character sets produce an evolutionary pressure to use a _smaller_ subset common to all those in use.

ASCII \ASCII\ n. [Acronym: American Standard Code for Information Interchange.](Computers) 1. the American Standard Code for Information Interchange, a code consisting of a set of 128 7-bit combinations used in digital computers internally, for display purposes, and for exchanging data between computers. It is very widely used, but because of the limited number of characters encoded must be supplemented or replaced by other codes for encoding special symbols or words in languages other than English. Also used attributively; -- as, an ASCII file. Syn: American Standard Code for Information Interchange. [PJC] ||

Ascii \As"ci*i\, Ascians \As"cians\, n. pl. [L. ascii, pl. of ascius, Gr. ? without shadow; 'a priv. + ? shadow.] Persons who, at certain times of the year, have no shadow at noon; -- applied to the inhabitants of the torrid zone, who have, twice a year, a vertical sun. [1913 Webster]

ASCII {American Standard Code for Information Interchange}

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Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems.

Unicode 1. A 16-bit {character set} standard, designed and maintained by the non-profit consortium Unicode Inc. Originally Unicode was designed to be universal, unique, and uniform, i.e., the code was to cover all major modern written languages (universal), each character was to have exactly one encoding (unique), and each character was to be represented by a fixed width in bits (uniform). Parallel to the development of Unicode an {ISO}/{IEC} standard was being worked on that put a large emphasis on being compatible with existing character codes such as {ASCII} or {ISO Latin 1}. To avoid having two competing 16-bit standards, in 1992 the two teams compromised to define a common character code standard, known both as Unicode and {BMP}. Since the merger the character codes are the same but the two standards are not identical. The ISO/IEC standard covers only coding while Unicode includes additional specifications that help implementation. Unicode is not a {glyph encoding}. The same character can be displayed as a variety of {glyphs}, depending not only on the {font} and style, but also on the adjacent characters. A sequence of characters can be displayed as a single glyph or a character can be displayed as a sequence of glyphs. Which will be the case, is often font dependent. See also Jurgen Bettels and F. Avery Bishop's paper {Unicode: A universal character code (http://research.compaq.com/wrl/DECarchives/DTJ/DTJB02/DTJB02SC.TXT)}. (2002-08-06) 2. Pre-{Fortran} on the {IBM 1103}, similar to {MATH-MATIC}. [Sammet 1969, p.137]. (1997-11-15)

Data Sources:

  • ascii: WordNet (r) 2.0
  • ascii: Virtual Entity of Relevant Acronyms (Version 1.9, June 2002)
  • ascii: Jargon File (4.3.1, 29 Jun 2001)
  • ascii: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44
  • ascii: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44
  • ascii: The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (27 SEP 03)
  • unicode: The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (27 SEP 03)

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